Volgograd (Formerly Stalingrad) | Volgograd

© /www.jewage.org/ German soldiers of the 24th Panzer Division in action during the fighting for the southern station of Stalingrad. © Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R74190 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, Taken from Wikipedia German infantry in position for an attack. © Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R74190 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, Taken from Wikipedia Clouds of smoke and dust rise from the ruins of the canning factory in the south of Stalingrad after the Germans bomb the city on October 2, 1942. © Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R74190 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, Taken from Wikipedia Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers above the burning city. © Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R74190 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, Taken from Wikipedia Soviet assault troops during the battle. © Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R74190 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, Taken from Wikipedia The center of Stalingrad after liberation. ©RIA Novosti archive, image #602161 / Zelma / CC-BY-SA 3.0 Taken from Wikipedia / Yahad’s team during an interview. © Cristian Monterroso /Yahad-In Unum Lidia K., born in 1927:  "When the Germans arrived in the city, they gathered us together and brought us on foot to a village, 40 km away from the city. Those who couldn’t continue were shot in the field. Then, they brought us to an immense transit camp. Lidia K. showed us her childhood medals from the Battle of Stalingrad and her medal from a German Prisoner of War camp. © Cristian Monterroso /Yahad-In Unum Maria S., born in 1933: "During the large bombings, we stayed hidden in a railway tunnel for several days. People who were located at the ends of the tunnel died from the explosions or from shrapnel. We couldn’t even drink water from the stream.YIU / Aleksandr Ye., born in 1927: “I was a captain of one of the ships that brought Soviet soldiers from the East Bank to the West Bank, coming from the Stalingrad border.” From the West Bank to the East Bank, he transported wounded civilians and soldiers. YIU Anatoli K., born in 1933: "We managed to escape by bribing a policeman. But no villager was able to hide us because it was forbidden to shelter Jews and refugees of Stalingrad." © Cristian Monterroso /Yahad-In Unum Antonina Ch., born in 1929, lost 7 members of her family: 2 died and were buried in their anti-bomb trench, 3 died on the deportation route to the Belaya Kalitva camp, and 2 perished in Belaya Kalitva. © Cristian Monterroso /Yahad-In Unum Aleksandr Ye., born in 1927, shows Yahad-In Unum the different embarkment and disembarkment points that his boats visited. © Cristian Monterroso /Yahad- Lidia K., born in 1927, with Yahad’s team near the former Kommandatura building. © Cristian Monterroso /Yahad-In Unum Anatoli K. showing Yahad’s team important sites around Volgograd. © Cristian Monterroso /Yahad-In Unum Memorial to the victims of WWII in Volgograd. © Cristian Monterroso /Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews and non-Jews in Volgograd

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
On the streets
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1942-1943
Number of victims :
Thousands

Witness interview

Anatoli K., born in 1933: "Just after the first bombings, we received an authorization to evacuate the city and to go to the other side of the Volga. Arriving at the quay, another bombing started. We couldn’t get on board the boat. The boats that had already left fell under the German bombs. An entire boat, filled with children, sank. Upon the arrival of the Germans, we were sent to the camp of Belaya Kalitva. We managed to escape by bribing a policeman. But no villager was able to hide us because it was forbidden to shelter Jews and refugees of Stalingrad." (Witness n°593R, interviewed in Volgograd, on November 13, 2015)

Soviet archives

"The troops of the German invaders broke into the Stalingrad region in the middle of 1942. At the end of August 1942, they approached Stalingrad. [...] Before the Germans’ arrival, the population of the region numbered 785,000 inhabitants, including 525,000 city population and 260,000 rural population. [...] During the presence of the German-Fascist invaders within the limits of the Stalingrad region, 1,744 people were shot, 108 hanged, 1,598 people were subjected to abuse, rape, and torture, 23,145 people were sent into slavery in Germany, 42,797 people died as a result of bombing and heavy artillery fire." [Act drawn up by Soviet Extraordinary Commission (ChGK); GARF: Fond 7021, Opis 45, Delo 236]

Historical note

Volgograd, formerly Tsaritsyn from 1589 to 1925, is the largest city and the administrative center of the Volgograd Oblast, Russia. The city lies on the western bank of the Volga. The city was founded as the fortress of Tsaritsyn in 1589. By the nineteenth century, Tsaritsyn had become an important river port and commercial center, leading to its population expanding rapidly. In 1897, 55,000 people lived there, including 893 Jews. In 1904, the Jewish community built a synagogue. The majority of Jews were involved in commerce and owning small businesses. On April 10, 1925, the city was renamed Stalingrad in honor of Joseph Stalin and kept its name until 1961. The city of Stalingrad was home to Russians, Ukrainians, Germans, Jews, and some nomad Roma who would come to settle in for a season. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Following the invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, fighting on the eastern front was continuous. After failing to take Moscow in late 1941, German forces reorganized and counterattacked. On August 23, 1942, the Germans launched an offensive to seize the city of Stalingrad in south-west Russia. The battle was one of the largest and most brutal in history. It was also one of the only battles of the Second World War to feature hand-to-hand combat. The city of Stalingrad was a strategic point for German troops for two reasons. Firstly, it was a major industrial city on the Volga River, a vital transport route between the Caspian Sea and northern Russia. Secondly, its capture would secure the left flank of the German armies as they advanced into the oil-rich Caucasus region -- with the goal of cutting off fuel to Stalin’s war machine. The fact that the city bore the name of Hitler’s nemesis, Joseph Stalin, would make its capture an ideological and propaganda coup. After heavy bombings and air attacks by the Luftwaffe, the Germans occupied the city on September 12, 1942. By September 30, 1942, they occupied two thirds of the city. The battles continued for 199 days, in addition to continuous air bombing, until February 2, 1943. According to archival figures, the Red Army suffered a total of 1,129,619 total casualties, with 478,741 men killed and captured and 650,878 wounded. These numbers are for the whole Stalingrad area; in the city itself, 750,000 people were killed, captured, or wounded. Also, more than 43,000 Soviet civilians died in Stalingrad and its suburbs during a single week of aerial bombing as the German Fourth Panzer and Sixth armies approached the city. The total number of civilians killed in the regions outside the city is unknown. In all, the battle resulted in an estimated total of 1.7 million to 2 million German and Soviet casualties.

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